Aristaeus the Elder

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Aristaeus the Elder (Greek : Ἀρισταῖος ὁ Πρεσβύτερος; 370 – 300 BC) was a Greek mathematician who worked on conic sections. He was a contemporary of Euclid.

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Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.



Only little is known of his life. The mathematician Pappus of Alexandria refers to him as Aristaeus the Elder. Pappus gave Aristaeus great credit for a work entitled Five Books concerning Solid Loci which was used by Pappus but has been lost. He may have also authored the book Concerning the Comparison of Five Regular Solids. This book has also been lost; we know of it through a reference by the Greek mathematician Hypsicles.

Pappus of Alexandria Greek mathematician of Antiquity

Pappus of Alexandria was one of the last great Greek mathematicians of Antiquity, known for his Synagoge (Συναγωγή) or Collection, and for Pappus's hexagon theorem in projective geometry. Nothing is known of his life, other than, that he had a son named Hermodorus, and was a teacher in Alexandria.

Hypsicles was an ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer known for authoring On Ascensions (Ἀναφορικός) and the Book XIV of Euclid's Elements. Hypsicles lived in Alexandria.

Heath 1921 notes, "Hypsicles (who lived in Alexandria) says also that Aristaeus, in a work entitled Comparison of the five figures, proved that the same circle circumscribes both the pentagon of the dodecahedron and the triangle of the icosahedron inscribed in the same sphere; whether this Aristaeus is the same as the Aristaeus of the Solid Loci, the elder contemporary of Euclid, we do not know." [1]

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Thomas Little Heath British civil servant and academic

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Hippasus Pythagorean philosopher and mathematician

Hippasus of Metapontum, was a Pythagorean philosopher. Little is known about his life or his beliefs, but he is sometimes credited with the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers. The discovery of irrational numbers is said to have been shocking to the Pythagoreans, and Hippasus is supposed to have drowned at sea, apparently as a punishment from the gods for divulging this. However, the few ancient sources which describe this story either do not mention Hippasus by name or alternatively tell that Hippasus drowned because he revealed how to construct a dodecahedron inside a sphere. The discovery of irrationality is not specifically ascribed to Hippasus by any ancient writer. Some modern scholars though have suggested that he discovered the irrationality of 2, which is believed to have been discovered around the time that he lived.

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Autolycus of Pitane was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, and geographer. The lunar crater Autolycus was named in his honour.

Greek mathematics

Greek mathematics refers to mathematics texts and advances written in Greek, developed from the 7th century BC to the 4th century AD around the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek mathematicians lived in cities spread over the entire Eastern Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa but were united by culture and language. Greek mathematics of the period following Alexander the Great is sometimes called Hellenistic mathematics. The word "mathematics" itself derives from the Ancient Greek: μάθημα, translit. máthēmaAttic Greek: [má.tʰɛː.ma]Koine Greek: [ˈma.θ], meaning "subject of instruction". The study of mathematics for its own sake and the use of generalized mathematical theories and proofs is the key difference between Greek mathematics and those of preceding civilizations.

A porism is a mathematical proposition or corollary. In particular, the term porism has been used to refer to a direct result of a proof, analogous to how a corollary refers to a direct result of a theorem. In modern usage, a porism is a relation that holds for an infinite range of values but only if a certain condition is assumed, for example Steiner's porism. The term originates from three books of Euclid with porism, that have been lost. Note that a proposition may not have been proven, so a porism may not be a theorem, or for that matter, it may not be true.

Theodosius of Bithynia was a Greek astronomer and mathematician who wrote the Sphaerics, a book on the geometry of the sphere.

Ancient Greek astronomy

Greek astronomy is astronomy written in the Greek language in classical antiquity. Greek astronomy is understood to include the ancient Greek, Hellenistic, Greco-Roman, and Late Antiquity eras. It is not limited geographically to Greece or to ethnic Greeks, as the Greek language had become the language of scholarship throughout the Hellenistic world following the conquests of Alexander. This phase of Greek astronomy is also known as Hellenistic astronomy, while the pre-Hellenistic phase is known as Classical Greek astronomy. During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, much of the Greek and non-Greek astronomers working in the Greek tradition studied at the Musaeum and the Library of Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt.

Carpus of Antioch was an ancient Greek mathematician. It is not certain when he lived; he may have lived any time between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD. He wrote on mechanics, astronomy, and geometry. Proclus quotes from an Astronomical Treatise by Carpus concerning whether problems should come before theorems, in which Carpus may have been criticising Geminus. Proclus also quotes the view of Carpus that "an angle is a quantity, namely a distance between the lines of surfaces containing it." According to Pappus, Carpus made use of mathematics for practical applications. According to Iamblichus, Carpus also constructed a curve for the purpose of squaring the circle, which he calls a curve generated by a double motion.

Basilides of Tyre was a mathematician, mentioned by Hypsicles in his prefatory letter of Euclid's Elements, Book XIV. Barnes and Brunschwig suggested that Basilides of Tyre and Basilides the Epicurean could be the same Basilides.


  1. Thomas Little Heath (1908). "The thirteen books of Euclid's Elements".

Further reading

The Dictionary of Scientific Biography is a scholarly reference work that was published from 1970 through 1980. It is supplemented by the New Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Both these publications are comprised in an electronic version, called the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

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Edmund Frederick Robertson is a Professor emeritus of pure mathematics at the University of St Andrews.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive is a website maintained by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson and hosted by the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It contains detailed biographies on many historical and contemporary mathematicians, as well as information on famous curves and various topics in the history of mathematics.

University of St Andrews university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

The University of St Andrews is a British public university in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. It is the oldest of the four ancient universities of Scotland and the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. St Andrews was founded between 1410 and 1413, when the Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII issued a papal bull to a small founding group of Augustinian clergy.